Occupation: Professor Emeritus
University: New York University
Organization: Renaissance Society of America
Timothy J Reiss is Emeritus Professor of Comparative Literature at New York University, currently (2017-18) Visiting Professor in the Division of Literatures, Cultures, and Languages at Stanford University and Visiting Scholar in English at the University of Hawai’i. He is author of Toward Dramatic Illusion (Yale 1971), Tragedy and Truth (Yale 1980), The Discourse of Modernism (Cornell 1982, a Choice best book), The Uncertainty of Analysis (Cornell 1987), The Meaning of Literature (Cornell 1992, a Choice best book & winner of the Forkosch prize in intellectual history), Knowledge, Discovery and Imagination (Cambridge 1997), Against Autonomy (Stanford 2002), Mirages of the Selfe (Stanford 2003), editor or co-editor of eight collections on tragedy, Renaissance and modern critical thinking, Caribbean writing (and music), and author of some 170 articles, book chapters and encyclopedia entries, currently finishing books on Descartes and politics, on the Renaissance as a product of transculturation over the Mediterranean, Africa, Indian Ocean, Americas and Europe, and a collection of essays on Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o. His Manchester family was much involved in Palestine and early twentieth-century Zionism, becoming disenchanted following Irgun, Stern Gang and other 1930s-40s Jewish terrorism, and more so within a decade of the state’s founding, as Israel became ever more what it claimed to be escaping. During the first Intifada, Reiss, co-sponsor of a major international conference on “Utopia” at the University of Haifa, refused to participate after denial of his request formally to debate current Israel-Palestine conditions. Since then, he has publicly resigned life membership in the Royal Society of Canada at its self-congratulatory association with Israel’s Academy of Sciences and Humanities during Israel’s 2014 bombing of Gaza (!!), and more recently life membership in the MLA, after that organization’s despicable behavior over BDS. He remains involved and writes as possible on the issues.